The Remnants annual dinner was held at The Punter, on Pound Hill, on the evening of Friday, November 27, 2009. Twenty-odd Remnants came along and took over the "barn" (a nice room overlooking the courtyard out the back of the pub) to spend four hours eating, drinking and raking over the coals of the season that was.
The season was, of course, Geoff's final one as club secretary and he came along tonight resplendent in matching Remnants jacket presented to him, at least in spirit, at the legends match a few months previous. Geoff also acted as MC for the evening's presentations, which began with the Champagne Moment award. Normally there's a sense of tension and excitement as the various candidates achievements are remembered, and one can almost cutting from nominee to nominee as in the Oscars. But there was none of that this year as there one performance stood head, shoulders, chest and groin above all other's: George Speller's spell of 2 overs, 2 maidens, 6/0 (including a hat-trick) for The Travelling Theatre in August.
The other award to be given out was the Phil Watson Discretionary Trophy, a hideous monstrosity foisted upon him a few years back and which he strangely didn't take with him to the west country. Richard Rex "won" the award at last year's dinner and so was free to choose its new owner this time around. Unfortunately Richard couldn't be there on the evening, but instead provided the following citation:
At an early stage of my reflections upon the making of this award, I discussed it with my son, Olly. For a moment we toyed with the idea that I might award it to him and that in turn, a year from now, he might give it back to me, thus keeping it in the family until one of us - probably me - drops out, drops dead, or in some other way drops off the radar. A moment was all it took. In order to keep this hideous icon, which I think of as the Curse Of The Remnants, out of the house, Olly emphasised, on no account must it be awarded to any member of our family.
This of course considerably reduces the field, not only statistically but in terms of possible reasons for making the award. For example, it rules out "most improved young player". Sorry Ferdi, but you can't have it, despite having taken the wicket of the mighty Nick Clarke, to the glee and not entirely without the co-operation of the then umpire. It also rules out "most consistent young player": Henry Rex's procession of elegantly effortless ducks must go without recognition for now. Besides that, it gives me a second reason for denying the award for massacring the bowling of your close relatives to Ed Rex, whose 29 not out included three sixes off Henry. The first reason is, of course, that I still resent having been clubbed out of the ground over the longest boundary on the last ball of the innings. To add insult to injury, it was my quicker ball - or, as it now is, my "just a little quicker ball". Uncultured slogging! No respect!
Within the subset of Remnants who are neither Rexes nor previous winners of this award, a few names stand out. Rob Harvey turned out a stupendous twenty times for the club this year, often to keep wicket with classic elegance, and he jointly heads the dismissals list along with Ev Fox and Andy Owen, on 9. George Speller is in the running mainly on account of some characteristically swashbuckling individual performances. None of those who witnessed it, nor any of its many victims, are likely to forget his immortal two overs, two maidens, six for none, including its closing hat-trick, to defeat Remnants in the name of the Travelling Theatre. And his early season 94 against Churchill was actually our highest score of the year, although some sort of envy is obviously at work on the website, where the "highest scores" list records only Dave Williams's 69. Dave Williams himself, of course, second highest scorer, second most runs scored, fifth in the batting averages and - some would add amazingly - third in the bowling averages, is another powerful contender. And there is always Andy Owen, figuring, as ever, in practically every honours list with his usual tally of runs, wickets, catches, and stumpings. Not to forget, either, Tom Serby, with his 320 runs and usual all-round contribution.
But to business. There was a great temptation to grant this award to Julius Rix, not only because of his tireless athleticism at deep midwicket, 145 runs, 5 catches, and a tally of 9 wickets gathered as the season progressed with ever more hostile and penetrating bowling, but also because he is, arguably, as a Rix, the nearest thing to a Rex without actually being one. But in the end, partly for his all-round contribution on and off the field, but even more for the strength of his bid, amid intense competition, for the title of slowest bowler in the club, the award must go to Dave Williams.
Dave Williams was thus rewarded for his good cricket and his efforts in organising, amongst other things, this evening, with the world's ugliest trophy. He accepted it in good grace, but once again "no good deed goes unpunished".
The final formality was the world famous Remnants quiz which was won by Andy Owen and John Moore with ??/??, and they got a copy of David Shephard's autobiography to share between them. That mightn't seem like the highest score, but if you think you can do better here's your chance:
(To see the answers simply highlight the region below the questions with your mouse by dragging the cursor across the screen with the left button held down.)
Easy singles (one point each)
George Speller, playing for The Travelling Theatre - if you didn't get that one then you really weren't paying attention.
This too was George Speller, against Little Paxton at Churchill College.
George Speller once again, just to prove that he is human afterall.
Coton (although this for once didn't involve George, despite the fact he plays for both clubs).
Geor- er, no: John Gull, who lost control of his bat in the rain in Sal's birthday game.
Geoff Hales committed this faux pas when he came on as a substitute fresh from officiating at Fenner's.
Coming back for two (two points each)
Mike Sneyd and John Young (although when John asked Mike if he was the answer he was told "no" and when Mike asked John if he was the answer he also said "no").
Dave Green, who pulled his "gluteous maximus" not once, but twice.
Nick Clarke, who received over a thousand votes when he (successfully) stood for local council but, when he captained Remnants against Sharks but we couldn't defend a grand total of 161/4.
Les Collings (who sadly didn't make it to the dinner when he got food-poisoning before the event): with Adrian on a hat-trick in the end-of-season internal game.
Captain Russell Woolf, who took 4/4 against The Cavendish, 4/34 against Little Paxton and 4/13 against Romsey Town.
Quentin Harmer, in the previously-mentioned Coton game.
Twelve an over (two points each)
George Speller and Phil Hastings.
Daniel Mortlock, who was betraying Remnants in the name of John Hill's XI (which a few people remembered, but not Mike Sneyd, who didn't even manage to work out what the numbers represented).
Joe White, who played a number of games from Granta's first team.
Dave Williams managed to achieve this feat post-operation against FAS.
Still up with the asking rate (two points each)
The new pavilion clock, that was only installed the previous week, was promptly smashed by a violent Phil Hastings pull shot (that was more accurate than George's similarly violent pull an over earlier).
This was Ben Armitage going above and beyond the call of duty (and possibly against doctors' orders).
Daniel Mortlock, less than a decade after his first.
No, not Geoff Hales, but Tony Malik when he turned out for Remnants for the first time in ?? years.
Adrian Mellish's father Noel, in the impromptu afternoon game against Romsey Town.
John Young, although the baying for more runs from the pavilion might have played a role as well.
Eight off two balls (eight points total)
In no particular order: Edmund Rex; Ferdinand "Ferdi" Rex; Henry Rex; Maximus Rex; Oliver "Olly" Rex; and Sebastian Rex.